There are many visitors to Medjugorje.com who have only discovered this site over the past two years who have had no prior knowledge of Caritas of Birmingham or the Community of Caritas…
There are many visitors to Medjugorje.com who have only discovered this site over the past two years who have had no prior knowledge of Caritas of Birmingham or the Community of Caritas. The internet is a wonderful tool in that it enables an organization, such as Caritas, to reach the whole world and connect to people who have the same interests and desires. However, it is also a very dangerous tool because in our news-saturated world, where there is always so much information, data, gossip, and visual stimulus firing at us from every direction, all day long, there are many who tend to accept anything as truth that comes to them on the internet, television, radio, newspapers, etc., without using discernment to substantiate the claims being made. So often news in any form is not only incomplete, only telling a small part of a story, but it is often inaccurate, deliberately misleading, even outright lies. Such is the world we live in today.
Caritas of Birmingham was founded 25 years ago. When you come to Medjugorje.com, you are benefiting from more than 25 years of experiences of being closer to the apparitions of Medjugorje than most people can claim who are living in the world today. That is a fact that can be substantiated by studying the history of Caritas’ founder and family, and the history of Caritas and of the Community. For this reason, Caritas of Birmingham is using the occasion of their Silver 25th Anniversary to share some of their history so that you who use Medjugorje.com can clearly see Our Lady’s involvement in the founding and development of both the mission and community of Caritas. Throughout this year, there will be frequent chapters from our archives that will be shared to help you to see the what and the who behind Medjugorje.com.
Anyone can put a site on the internet, and whether deserved or not, credibility is given just for having a site. But if you could look behind the door of each site, what would you find? Often times, just a man sitting behind his home computer in his living room. This is not so for Medjugorje.com. To look behind their door is to discover a very large, very active, very committed group of individuals and families involved in a thriving and growing mission who have answered a call from Our Lady to be a part of something She originated and called into being. We invite you to step behind the door of Medjugorje.com, as this year unfolds, and come inside their story.
January 25, 1989
Though the above message is a monthly message to the world, this message was given in the Bedroom of the founder of Caritas two days before Medjugorje visionary Marija would end her time in his home. Much had happened in the two and a half months Marija stayed there, in which she arrived on November 18, 1988. During this time, Our Lady had made a request of the founder, through Marija, that surprised and perplexed him at the same time. Our Lady asked for a community to be established. How was he to begin a community? Who was supposed to be a part of it? How was it to develop? The above January 25 message, in light of Our Lady’s request, gave confidence and assurance to begin. In prayer, he slowly began to realize that as he was changing his life based in what he saw in Our Lady’s messages, that whoever was willing to come and make the changes that he himself was making, they could come.
Over the course of the next two years, the founder went to Medjugorje often and would request of Our Lady, through Marija, to give him guidance. She would only reply to him with the word, “Pray.” Gradually he began to understand that it was Our Lady’s desire that he learn how to be guided by the Holy Spirit in his prayer in discerning the will of God in the formation of the community—rather than getting the answers he needed through Marija asking his questions to Our Lady. This walk was a very lonely one for many years as he had no one in his life who understood or supported that which Our Lady was calling him to do. He had only Our Lady, and yet, She was not giving him messages, as She had done so often in the Bedroom when Marija was staying in his home—messages that he was hoping to receive to strengthen him for what She was asking him to do. Even so, whenever he had the opportunity, he continued to seek words from Our Lady for confirmation of the way he was heading.
In March, 1990, the first person, outside of the founder’s family, felt the call to leave her life behind and join what Our Lady was forming at Caritas. Four months later, her sister also put action to the same call. They were from Illinois and had gone on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in June of 1989 with Caritas of Birmingham. They had been so impacted by the experience and what the founder conveyed about Our Lady and Her apparitions that they began to pray in earnest to know God’s will for their lives. After many months of prayer and visits to the Field in Alabama, they knew they were being called to join the founder and his family’s efforts to live and spread Our Lady’s messages through what She was developing in the mission there.
On January 12, 1991, Caritas’ founder, and now its director, was in Medjugorje and had the opportunity to be with Marija for a private apparition. The question he brought to Our Lady read: “Have you any words of hope yet?” It showed his continuing hope that Our Lady would give words to confirm Her plan in Alabama. On this day, January 12, 1991, he received more than just “Pray.” He received a personal message through Marija from Our Lady. Our Lady said:
These words have greater significance when we see Our Lady’s parting words from the Bedroom, on January 25, 1989, “…Today, I am calling you to the way of holiness. Pray that you comprehend the beauty and the greatness of this way…” And then Our Lady ended the apparition by saying,
The joy is still felt remembering when they first received these words. This was a tremendous encouragement and confirmation that Our Lady was taking note of their progress, and that the founder was finding through prayer the right direction.
It was also a great joy to receive Our Lady’s January 25, 2011 message a few days ago for the community because Her words, given on the anniversary of the January 25, 1989 message in the Bedroom was reminiscent of those words spoken 22 years ago at the birth of the community. On January 25, 1989, She said “…I am calling you to the way of holiness…” She said, “…be open to everything God does…” She said, “…I give you my blessing…” On January 25, 2011, Our Lady’s monthly message came during a time that the community is working intensely, night and day, preparing for Our Lady’s coming March 19-23. On this day She said, “…you have opened yourself to my call and to God’s love…” and because of that “…joy will begin to reign in the world…” And She said again, “…I am blessing you…” The messages of Our Lady are for all people and the more you follow them, through the years, the more you can detect the threads of the messages weaving in and out of each other, creating a beautiful tapestry of your life, or rather, a beautiful mosaic. It has been this way in the life of the Caritas Community over the years. There are always fresh discoveries of God’s goodness and mercy to us through Our Lady’s words, given to us even while we are still sinners, imperfect in always comprehending “…the beauty and the greatness of this way, where God reveals Himself to you in a special way…”
The night of January 25, 2011, during the Radio Wave program on Our Lady’s message, A Friend of Medjugorje played a song called Saints and Angels, that reflect this reality that a transformation is taking place even if we do not always perceive it, and that “…The Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of those who have said ‘yes’. Therefore I desire to say to you: thank you for having responded to my call.”
We walk on broken ground
We lose our way
We come unwound
We turn in circles
We’re never satisfied
We fall from grace
Forget we can fly
But through all the tears
That we cry
Shattered and scarred
Love has the grace to save us
We’re just a few tarnished hearts
But in each other’s arms
We become saints and angels
November 25, 1989
May Our Lady Direct Your Way,
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& the Community of Caritas